Lidl Switzerland has worked with the Swiss Federal Laboratories For Materials Science and Technology (Empa) to develop a cellulose protective coating that will make fruit and vegetables stay fresh for longer.
The partners said they hoped the novel coating, which is made from so-called pomace – squeezed fruit and vegetable peels – could reduce packaging and prevent food waste.
At Empa's Cellulose & Wood Materials laboratory, researchers reportedly spent more than a year developing the protective application for fresh produce.
During tests, the shelf-life of bananas was apparently extended by more than a week.
'The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future,' commented Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa laboratory.
According to Empa, the idea is to process so-called pomace into fibrillated cellulose.
The coating is then either sprayed on the fruit or applied to the produce as a dip, which is said to be easy to wash off.
“As it is harmless to the consumer, it can also be consumed without harm,” added a spokesperson. “The potential of cellulose coatings is by no means exploited yet; there is the possibility of adding additives such as vitamins or antioxidants.”